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EDUCATION

Swedish schools hit ‘grim’ new low: report

A new study by the Swedish National Agency for Education has revealed that a record number of students are failing to get the grades required to enter upper secondary school

Swedish schools hit 'grim' new low: report

The figures released by Skolverket show that 13.1 percent of pupils in spring didn't pass the core subjects at the end of the compulsory nine-year school (Grundskola). Students have to pass the subjects to be able to continue their studies in upper secondary, known in Sweden as Gymnasium. 

In 2006 when the Alliance was elected the failure rate was 10.6 percent and considered alarming at the time. By 2010 the figure had increased to over 12 percent.

"It's a very grim figure, it has increased and continues to rise and that is a bad result for Swedish schools," Director General Anna Ekström told SVT who analysed the findings.

The agency says they are concerned about the findings which demonstrate how vital a child's background is when it comes to doing well at school.

For example the figures show that only five percent of children whose parents are university graduates fail to gain entry to upper secondary.

Children of parents who just completed Gymnasium make up 15 percent, while the figure rockets to 42 percent for children whose parents also failed to pass the core subjects at Grundskola.

Under the Swedish education act everybody is entitled to a good education but the figures make for alarming reading said Ekström of Skolverket.

"Everybody should be able to develop to their full potential," she said and added that the differences between various schools continued to increase.

However, the figures also showed that children of immigrant backgrounds did just as well or even better than native Swedes. That applied to children who had been in Sweden for between eight and nine years.

By contrast children who have recently arrived had a much higher failure rate – 50 percent – precluding them from entering upper secondary school.

Girls continue to outperform boys according to the study. In April The Local reported that Sweden had tumbled down the Pisa rankings with Swedish kids scoring the lowest marks in the Nordic region.  

The Local/pr

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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